Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner deal without any conditions

Judge Richard Leon has approved the AT&T-Time Warner merger rejecting the Department of Justice’s argument.

Cramer on AT&T-Time Warner ruling: ‘I thought the government made a better case than this’

Even CNBC’s Jim Cramer was surprised by the court ruling that approved AT&T’s attempted $85.4 billion merger with cable and entertainment colossus Time Warner.

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner was legal, effectively paving the way for the merger to pass without any conditions or concessions on AT&T’s part.

“I thought that there were going to be some strings attached,” the “Mad Money” host admitted. “I thought the government made a better case than this. Now, this is a full-bore shutdown of the government’s attempt to block this acquisition.”

Last November, the Justice Department sued to block the merger, arguing that it was “illegal” and “harmful” to consumers. After Tuesday’s ruling, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement that the Justice Department was disappointed by the decision and would review the U.S. District Court’s opinion and “consider next steps.”

But this deal spoke volumes to what could happen on Wall Street in the coming weeks, Cramer argued.

“Not only will this ruling mean this huge deal will close and you’ll see Time Warner up big [Wednesday], it also means that many similar deals in a host of industries, like Cigna trying to buy Express Scripts, will also probably be greenlighted if Justice tries to stop them,” he said.

It also meant that Comcast’s widely anticipated bid for some of Twenty-First Century Fox’s assets, which would put the NBCUniversal parent in direct competition with the Walt Disney Company, just got one step closer to being formally announced, Cramer said.

That, he added, would explain “why Comcast’s stock was trading down in after-hours [trading on Tuesday] and the stock of Fox was soaring and Disney’s stock was getting hurt, too.”

All things considered, the outlook seem to be brightening for companies and industries in need of consolidation.

“This decision is important enough and so pro-merger, frankly, that I think it’ll help a whole host of industries that are thinking of consolidating,” Cramer said. “It’s a huge positive for tomorrow’s market.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.

Source – cnbc.com

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